TODAY | June 25, 2012
>> caught on tape and they have identified him, the race is on to find him. gabe gutierrez with the latest. good morning.
>> reporter: good morning. local authorities are offering up to $5,000 reward. the suspect is a street artist who investigators believe bragged about the vandalism online. the video posted on youtube quickly went viral, a man defacing pablo picasso 's woman in arm cheer at the prestigious collection in houston . the witness who shot the video didn't want to be identified. then the suspect called himself an up and coming mexican american artist looking to honor picas picasso 's work.
>> went up to the painting without fear, separate painted it and walked off.
>> now they know who did it. they kmarnlgcharged him with criminal mischief . investigators are investigating with whether he had an accomplice.
>> bold, reckless, in your face crime.
>> the suspect used a stencil to spray paint a picture of a bull wut with the word conquista below it. part of their investigation included his facebook page where he boldly posted a link to news coverage about the vandalism. also a picture of the word conquista, the same word spray painted . it suggests he's a student at the university of houston . several pictures on the site show off his artwork. so far police haven't been able to track him down.
>> this is one of those cases where he is not a graffiti artist , he's a graffiti terrorists. he's someone who used a valuable painting to try to make his own statement and that resulted in these criminal charges .
>> reporter: this isn't the first picasso that's been vandalized. in 1984 his greatest masterpiece was spray painted in new york. this latest case is just as frustrating to houston 's art community as well as picasso 's granddaughter. she spoke by phone from london.
>> i think it is just so cruel, the artist should be put in jail. laws should be enforced.
>> she said arts is about traces of humanity. she hopes this trace can be saved. a spokesman for the museum said the painting was immediately taken to the restoration lab here and is still being repaired. there's no word on when the public might see it again. willie.
>> let's hope they can save it. dave gutierrez in houston